Thursday April 24 2014

Govt rolls out youth fund programme

By Yasiin Mugerwa

At least 2.8 million jobless youth across the country will be given a second chance to fight back in the latest government war against poverty and unemployment in the country.

More than 10,000 jobless youth selected from 27 districts in the first phase will next week share more than Shs12 billion released to the Ministry of Gender under the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), a five-year anti-poverty project.

The architect of the project, Mr Pius Bigirimana, said in a statement yesterday that the Gender ministry had embarked on the roll-out of the implementation of YLP to all the 112 districts, targeting jobless youth.

Mr Bigirmana said the beneficiary youth will be organised under Youth Interest Groups, or as individual youths, and will be the nucleus of the programme. He said Shs53 billion is expected in the 2014/15 budget to cover an additional 40,000 jobless youth groups.

Mr Bigirimana said phase I of the project, which covers 27 districts, will cover 10,000 youth groups and that the money will be dispersed to youth projects next week.

“Ministry of Finance has released the money for the youth, we are just waiting for the beneficiaries in the 27 districts to send in their approved project proposals, and then, we will send them money directly,” Mr Bigirimana said.

He said the funds would be channelled directly to the beneficiaries and will be monitored by Gender ministry and the office of the Inspector General of Government.

Phase II of the roll-out plan will cover all the remaining 85 districts. The phase will commence in the fourth week of April with the sensitisation of key district stakeholders.

The chairperson of the Youth Council, Mr Steven Kavuma, welcomed the news. “As youth leaders, we are asking the young people not to misuse the funds. We had a lot of pressure from other districts but the timetable for other 85 districts has also been released,” he said.

However, some Opposition leaders have criticised YLP as a vote-winning project for President Museveni’s 2016 bid, a claim Information minister Rose Namayanja, dismissed as baseless. “The government is trying to help the jobless youth whether in Opposition or NRM and this is well articulated in the NRM manifesto,” she said.